“Sonic Frontiers” was an ambitious undertaking for the Sonic Team franchise (a Sega-owned video game creator from Japan), representing a significant departure in character presentation, storytelling, and environment design compared to previous entries in the series. While their performance did not receive universal praise, no one could deny that Sonic Team really tried to redefine what Sonic the Hedgehog video games could offer.
Fast forward a few updates after launch, and you will realize that Sonic Frontiers has seen significant improvements with plenty of fresh content. Now, the pinnacle of these updates has arrived with the release of the platformer game Sonic Frontiers: The Final Horizon, which launched on September 28 for PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox Series, Xbox One, Switch, and PC via Steam. Honestly, we, and we suspect many others, had no idea what to expect from this update. Although hints of new playable characters and story elements have been dropping, Sega has remained tight-lipped about revealing significant details prior to launch. So, we went into it with no specific expectations and came away deeply impressed. Without exaggeration, we consider The Final Horizon to be the new highlight of the series.
The Final Horizon Took a Much Fresher Approach to the Ending
Sonic Frontiers: The Final Horizon takes place in the final area of the game, Ouranos Island. In order not to reveal spoilers, we will not go into the details of the story. However, you can consider it a fresh approach to the ending, and a substantial one at that. Sonic Frontiers’ basic ending and its final boss have been met with criticism from a section of the gaming community. While entertaining, we understand the complaints about the final fight. But we suggest that you take your time and do not jump to conclusions.
Throughout The Final Horizon, you take on the roles of Amy, Knuckles, and Tails, each with different controls and skills. Initially, these characters’ skill trees are almost completely empty and require you to unlock practical skills. With Amy, her exceptional high jump comes to the fore through a triple jump with the help of tarot cards and an unlocked special aerial move that propels her to incredible heights.
One of the Three New Characters Is an Absolute Favorite to Play
Of these three new characters, Amy is our absolute favorite to play. Her unique movement abilities introduce inventive platforms. It is important to note that Sonic Frontiers: The Final Horizon is surprisingly challenging. While the base game of Sonic Frontiers was indulgent and not particularly difficult, “The Final Horizon” rejects that lenience. In addition to powerful enemies, the platforming requires precision and rigor that sets it apart as a completely different game.
You have to use each character’s skills to progress, and we are not exaggerating. Tails does not deviate from this rule. Although he can fly for extended periods, the platform he is adapted to is perfectly shaped to suit his abilities. The level of verticality you have to overcome as Tails surprised us. And then there is Knuckles, who arguably poses the biggest learning curve. It would not be surprising if many players initially dismissed his control style as challenging. However, this is not the case.
To be precise, Knuckles’ gliding ability requires some warm-up, which can take some getting used to, unlike Amy’s and Tails’ techniques which seem intuitive right away. Once you figure out how to use this warm-up in a useful way, especially when falling can mean restarting the entire sequence, you will appreciate it. Also worth mentioning are Knuckles’ abilities on the ground. All three characters, Amy, Tails, and Knuckles, offer different combat abilities suited to different ranges and control styles, with Tails overwhelmingly excelling in this area.
However, Sonic is not excluded from the action either. He has its platformer and combat segments which are probably the most challenging in this new campaign. The tower tests, in particular, require a full understanding of Sonic’s abilities in order to overcome obstacles. For example, Quick Cycloop seems essential to progressing through certain platformer scenarios. As for the combat tests, they vary in difficulty. Some are extremely challenging and require every second of your time, while others are strangely simple. The latter did not detract significantly from the experience, but we wish these tests had offered a more consistent level of challenge to maintain tension. We loved the demanding ones and wished they were all at that level of difficulty.
Don’t Give Up on the Game if You Encounter (Seemingly) Insurmountable Challenges
However, the stuff on the island makes up for any shortcomings. There are many new collectibles that hold deep and challenging puzzles. The base game of Sonic Frontiers had a lot of items that felt a bit inconsequential and sometimes lacked a sense of accomplishment, especially in the early stages. While The Final Horizon also includes items that may seem less significant, they are necessary to balance out the more demanding ones. Players will not breeze through this game without thinking carefully. The optional enemies scattered around the island are just as challenging.
Our key advice is to not give up on yourself or the game if you encounter seemingly insurmountable challenges. It is likely that you need to improve your character’s stats, complete the skill tree, and consider which skills are practical for your situation. Another aspect we appreciated about The Final Horizon is that certain items are only available to certain characters. This shows the unique characteristics and importance of each character, even in supporting roles. The game covers all the bases to ensure a diverse and artificially based gaming experience.
The Music, Narration, and Writing of the Characters Are Commendable
Another commendable detail goes to the music. The Final Horizon has many new songs that perfectly match the already established melancholic tone of the game, with infectious beats. The narration and character writing also maintain this tone. Sonic Frontiers explores a level of maturity with its characters rarely seen in video games. Fortunately, The Final Horizon continues this trend, providing a sense of closure and heightened tension to this final act.
While we keep thanking Sega for this update, there is a problem, or rather a series of problems, that we encountered while playing. Occasionally, the game would freeze for a few seconds during certain moments, with everything on the screen becoming static. Everything went back to normal after 5-10 seconds, and it only happened a few times. It is worth noting that we played on PC, so it could have been an issue with our computer. However, we would not describe the overall experience as buggy. Aside from these isolated instances, the game ran smoothly, although the typical Frontiers pop-up and visual range effects did briefly distract from the experience for a few moments.
Sega (Mostly) Hits the Brake on NFTs In Games
Do not expect The Final Horizon to be supported by blockchain for gaming. Bloomberg reported that Sega is reducing its devotion to blockchain gaming. In the past, the developer, along with other big publishers and developers like Square Enix and Bandai Namco, demonstrated strong support for blockchain-based gaming. However, it appears that the publisher of the Sonic the Hedgehog series is now slamming the break on its blockchain initiatives, particularly when it involves the most well-known IPs (intellectual properties) of the publisher.
Sega additionally put any ambitions to create new IP for games based on blockchain technology into recess for the time being, according to comments made by co-COO Shuji Utsumi. The so-called “crypto winter” (an occurrence for exchanges and investors to see prolonged drops when the price decreases often span many cryptocurrencies and last for at least three months), which started earlier this year and caused many investors to forfeit both their funds and their trust in blockchain games is probably to blame for this. Additionally, a lot of players have expressed their preference for NFT-free, non-blockchain games in public. Such a decision of Sega will definitely speed up the dying stage (one would disagree – it is debatable) of platformer games (producing of which Sega stands out the most) and the process of losing audience to MOBAs, Shooters, and Fighting Games, whose popularity is additionally strengthened with their entrance to the eSports scene, as well as the gambling scene, even of the best crypto betting sites in 2023 rated at Bookmaker-expert.com/bookmakers/crypto-bookmakers/.
NFTs with characters from less well-known Sega series, such as Total War: Three Kingdoms and Virtua Fighter, continue to be in the works, so the company is not completely leaving the crypto world. However, it appears like Sega is not primarily betting on a blockchain-based future. This assertion also holds true for the publisher’s impending “super game” series, a lineup of lavishly funded online multiplayer games that are scheduled to start shipping in 2026.
Sonic Frontiers: The Final Horizon is our most enjoyable experience with this franchise.
Fair and satisfying challenges, excellent character writing, and newly added music that complements the dark tone of the game make this a truly outstanding experience. It shows that the Sonic series can thrive with the right time and craftsmanship. And for all of this to be delivered as free DLC (downloadable content) is amazing. We look forward to seeing where the next 3D aspect of this series goes!
Versha Gupta is a tech freak and co-founder of techzimo.com, she spends more of her time searching latest innovations in the tech world. But being a tech freak, she has the same interest in the entertainment world, she watches all the latest web series on OTT platforms and reviews them on Techzimo. Know more about her on Facebbok Instagram linkedin